Deus Scientiarum Dominus

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The apostolic constitution Deus scientiarum dominus, issued on Pentecost, May 24, 1931, was promulgated in Acta Apostolicae Sedis in July together with the Ordinationes for its implementation, which were issued by the Congregation of Seminaries and Universities on June 12, 1931.

Purpose. The purpose of the constitution was to foster perfection in ecclesiastical studies by the establishing of uniformity of ends, methods, and forms of instruction in all faculties and universities; by providing a broad, solid base for primary theological training; and by ensuring constant value to the doctorate.

The desired uniformity was to be achieved by (1) extending the Congregation's control to matters academic and economic in all institutes granting pontifical degrees;(2) ensuring responsible direction of the institutes, and requiring adequate and qualified personnel, proper physical installations, and financial stability; (3) establishing minimum requirements for admission and for conferring degrees; and (4) increasing the basic requirements for the doctorate to include original scientific research and specialization, as well as a sound general formation.

Legislation. The introduction, after detailing the history of the interest of the Church in education, states that the contemporary needs of the Church for profound, scholarly work in the sacred sciences prompted a study of ecclesiastical faculties and universities, by an appointed group of experts, from which issued the present legislation.

Title I. General Norms (112). Universities and Faculties of Ecclesiastical Studies are those that are established by the authority of the Holy See with the right to confer academic degrees. The purpose of these institutes is to form students to a profound knowledge of the sacred sciences. The institutes concerned are those that teach philosophy, theology, or Canon Law, and the five Roman Pontifical Institutes. The canonical erection and the direction of all faculties is reserved to the Congregation, which approves the institutes and empowers them to confer degrees.

Title II. Academic Officers, Professors, Students (1328). The rector is named or confirmed by the Congregation, whereas the university names the other officers and determines their functions. The university also establishes the number, duties, rights, nomination, promotion, etc., of the professors whose quality as ordinary, extraordinary, or temporary are here indicated. The Ordinationes set the conditions for the admission of students to the institute, for conferral of degrees, and for transfer to another institute, in more detail.

Title III. Programs and Methods of Study (2934). The study of positive theology and the scholastic method, according to the principles and doctrine of St. Thomas, are prescribed for theology. In philosophy, a study of the methods and principles of St. Thomas is to precede the examination and appreciation of the various philosophical systems. Besides the regular courses, there are to be seminars to teach scientific research and the written exposition thereof.

Title IV. The Granting of Degrees (3540). The requirements are, in general, regular attendance at courses, the profession of faith, and a regular cycle of studies. For the doctorate, there are required, besides five years in theology, four in philosophy, three in canon law, etc., (1) a dissertation, published in part, which is useful for the progress of the science and proves the aptness of the candidate for scientific research and writing; (2) a public defense of the dissertation; and (3) some other public specimen of the candidate's capability.

Title V. Teaching Adjuncts and Economic Matters (4752). Buildings must be ample, functional, and well-equipped for scholarly work. The salaries, pensions, etc., of the personnel must provide them a living consonant with their state in life. Fees for students are to be established by the institute.

Title VI. Transitory Norms (5358). By the effective date, the academic year 1932 and 1933, all contrary prescriptions and privileges are revoked.

Bibliography: c. boyer, "Annotationes," Periodica de re morali canonica liturgica 20 (1931) 298312, j. de ghellinck, "La Nouvelle constitution sur les études," Nouvelle revue théologique 58 (1931) 769785.

[v. m. burns]